Sunday, April 4, 2021

Backstories by Simon Van der Velde


This clever little book just came out, so why don't you get off your ass and go buy a copy? Seriously, would it kill you to buy an actual book for once? It's got a unique premise - you are dropped into the lives of famous people, but you don't know who they are. Things are slowly revealed as the character is developed, and then you get the payoff moment, when all becomes clear. It could be someone you really admire, or perhaps just a pompous asshole.

Speaking of pompous assholes, I was at my daughter's house trying to enjoy some overcooked brisket when my son-in-law Gerry says out of nowhere, "Hey everyone, I worked out every day for a year!" I mean, give me a goddamn break. I'm not sure if it was the comment or the beef that was drier than sand, but I gagged before I could respond, "Then why do you still look like that?" And before I could clear my throat, everyone else was gushing over him like he was a two-year-old who drew his first stick figure.

I took a nip from my flask to steady myself, and then tried to feign interest by asking what kind of workouts he had been doing. "All kinds," he said enthusiastically. "It was my COVID resolution! Sometimes I run or bike, sometimes I do some yoga or pilates, and sometimes I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood." It was honestly all could I do to not stick a fork in my eye right then and there.

Now before I get angry letters, let me say that I have nothing against yoga or pilates. In fact, I recognize the value of flexibility, and it is part of my long-term plan to stay alive to torment Gerry as long as possible. But even if your life is so meaningless that you have to count how many days in a row you are "working out," stretching does not fucking count! Neither does walking. Or gardening, bringing in the newspaper, refilling your coffee mug with gin, waving your clenched fist at people who skateboard on the sidewalk, leaving angry voicemails for Vlasic customer service, giving people the finger if they look at you funny, or any of the other things we all do every single day. That is called living, Gerry, and even if living is very hard for you, you don't get to call it a workout.

Furthermore, what is this bullshit about a COVID resolution? Is this some kind of party to you, like New Year's? While the rest of us have been masking up, foregoing our hobbies, and trying to protect our communities, you are doing Downward Dog and giving yourself a cookie? My new COVID resolution for you, Gerry, is called social distancing. It works like this - you see if you can stay away from all of us (I believe the new CDC recommendation is 6 miles), and if you can do it for a whole year, you get a ribbon, and we'll put it up on the fridge for everyone to see! Good luck!


  1. I'll have to look into that book. Don't get me started on all the COVID-related improvement efforts (both physical and mental) that went down and to some extent are ongoing. Personally, my goal was to avoid getting COVID and following the guidelines. So far, so good.

    1. Congratulations! Ever vigilant now. I wouldn't want to be the last guy to get COVID.